This family-owned enterprise, launched in 1979 by Maria Carwithen and her brother Joe Matkowski, has truly taken root. The pair began by selling plants on street corners as a way to bring in cash. “We didn’t have any experience, we just liked plants,” says Carwithen. “Joe had been doing it for a while. I was still in college and needed money, so I started doing it with him.We even lived together back then. We traveled in our van. We had one greenhouse and no heat, just a potbelly stove.”
J & M is now a mecca for garden needs with nearly two acres of indoor and outdoor space. There’s an ambitious array of indoor (tropicals, exotic orchids, wreaths) and outdoor (trees, shrubs, perennials) plants, gardening accessories and outdoor furnishings. Full-service landscaping crews and floral design are also available. For inside, J & M carries top-notch furnishings, lighting and accessories. Two years ago, Carwithen began selling women’s clothing, bath and body products and jewelry. “It’s fun to have something else to offer,” she says, noting that the store recently added bedding to the mix. With the expanded goods and services, the family involvement has also grown. Brother Mike joined the company, and each of the siblings has children who now work in the business. “We’ve always been close,” says Carwithen, who grew up with her brothers in Elizabeth Port. “Our parents were both immigrants—from Poland and Ireland—and we didn’t have any other relatives here.” Sibling rivalry? No way. “Everyone has their role,” Carwithen says. “I select all the home furnishings, Joe takes care of outdoor plants and Mike is the bookkeeper. We all get along,” she says.
J&M Home and Garden
201 Main Street, Madison, 973-377-4740, jmhg.com
Brands to look for: Garden Splendor Plants, C.R. Laine, Sam Moore, Rowe, Stanley, Jensen, Lane Venture, Robin Bruce, Paula Deen Home
FIDO SYNTHESIS: This pet pup won’t bring the paper—he’s made from it. Recycled-newspaper canine; $139.
BRACE YOURSELF: Bead-and-wood bracelet by Erik and Mike is handmade in Indonesia; $12.99.
LIMELIGHT: Pillars and a shapely pear candle by Vance Kitira are a fresh spring touch; $5.99–$11.99.Click here to leave a comment